Message from the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute
Over the past few weeks, India has seen record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases as well as an unprecedented number of hospitalizations and deaths. The increasing infection rate has already had disastrous impacts in cities and rural areas alike and this may bring further devastation in coming weeks.
On behalf of the staff members and affiliates at the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, our hearts go out to all of those globally who have been affected by the crisis. We stand in solidarity with colleagues, friends, loved ones and all others in the region who have been impacted by this tragedy as it continues to unfold.
The Mittal Institute is working to support ongoing efforts to address the current emergency, including disseminating information about fundraising campaigns in India and profiling preventative outreach efforts throughout the region. Please use the following links to learn more about ongoing relief efforts and updates on the current situation or to donate funds.
During this time of continuing crisis, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute would like to acknowledge the efforts to help the region that are currently being undertaken by current and past Harvard students, faculty and the larger community. For example, Harvard students and their peers from 20+ universities partnered on COVID relief support, which will ultimately help channel vital oxygen, protective equipment and other medical resources to protect healthcare workers and help save lives. Another such effort is represented in this petition, in which students call for action from various governments and the University.
Updates and Resources on In-region Efforts
Directorate General of Health Services (Bangladesh)
Ministry of Public Health (Afghanistan)
Ministry of Health (Bhutan): Includes a number of national and global COVID-19 updates.
Ministry of Health (Republic of Maldives)
Ministry of Health and Sports (Myanmar): Includes surveillance, contract tracing and statistics.
Ministry of Health and Population (Nepal): Contains a COVID-19 dashboard.
Ministry of Health (Sri Lanka)
PRS Legislative Research: List of rules
Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center: COVID Dashboard and global and national map.
Mass General’s Global Health Department is maintaining a page of resources dedicated to COVID-19 which includes information related to vaccine equity as well as fundraising links. The department has also developed a reading list.
US Chamber of Commerce: Resources for India’s COVID-19 Crisis.
Resources from Academia
Events and Resources from Across Harvard:
Geographic Insights’ India COVID-19 Tracker and Geographic Insights’ COVID-19 Metrics across Parliamentary Constituencies in India: The India COVID-19 Tracker comes from Geographic Insights, an interdisciplinary research lab based at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and the Harvard Center of Geographic Analysis at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Viswanath Lab’s COVID-19 Dashboard brings together credible COVID-19 related information that is easy to access, understand and act upon. This page addresses how to navigate the large amounts of information and includes FAQ’s, Mythbusters and Infographics.
Lancet COVID-19 Commission: India Task Force: The Lancet COVID-19 Commission is an interdisciplinary initiative across the health sciences, business, finance, and public policy that was launched in July 2020. It has four themes: to propose recommendations on how best to suppress the epidemic; to address the humanitarian crises arising from the pandemic; addressing the financial and economic crises resulting from the pandemic; and rebuilding an inclusive, fair, and sustainable world. The work of the Commission is supported by twelve Task Forces, in areas ranging from vaccine development, to humanitarian relief strategies, to safe workplaces, to global economic recovery. The India Task Force of the COVID-19 Commission is the only country-specific Task Force, set up in recognition of the unique challenges that India faces in the context of COVID-19.
The Lancet India Citizens’ Commission: Harvard researchers who are working with the Citizens’ Commission to reimagine healthcare in India and look at the pathway towards universal health coverage. This cross-sector initiative aims to develop a citizens’ roadmap to achieving universal health coverage in India in a period of ten years. For more information on these efforts, please see their webpage.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – India Research Center and Project SANCHAR have developed a communication toolkit titled “COVID-19 Resources for India: Be a Part of the Solution“ to address the wave of misinformation and disinformation and to provide evidence-based resources for improving health and well-being of self, patients, children, and people at risk. The “interactive toolkit” contains infographics, captions, and video clips that can be shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other networking apps. This toolkit will be updated frequently with the latest evidence-based guidelines and translated to other Indian languages as well. For more information and to access their list of resources on COVID-19, please see their webpage.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – India Research Center and Project SANCHAR have released the second edition of the Communication Implementation Guide to contribute to the mitigation of the crisis through aggressive promotion of public health measures. Likewise, they created an open-access WhatsApp group to share information quickly and efficiently.
Resources from Other US Universities’ South Asia Centers:
Boston University, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies
Brown University, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Includes the YouTube video about the COVID-19 Crisis in India: A Time to Act.
UC Berkeley, Institute for South Asia Studies
University of Chicago, Committee on Southern Asian Studies
Cornell University, Center for International Studies, South Asia Program
University of Hawaii, Manoa, Cente for South Asian Studies, including recent event with Dr. Anna Stirr in conversation with Dr. Suresh Tamang about how the Nepal Government and various NGOs have been working through successes and failures to combat COVID-19 in Nepal.
London School of Economics, South Asia Centre, features pages on COVID-19 in South Asia.
National University of Singapore, Institute of South Asian Studies. With ISAS Briefs, including one on Addressing Vaccine Shortage: Flexible Trade Rules for Compulsory Licences.
Stanford University: This webpage links to articles specifically related to how you can help during the COVID surge and how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people with chronic conditions in India.
Yale, Stanford Medical school, Innovations for Poverty Action, SEWA and other partners are working together to promote an effort to distribute masks to stem the spread of COVID to small towns and rural areas of India. These efforts are based on a 350,000-person randomized controlled trial previously conducted in Bangladesh that identifies the precise combination of interventions that increase persistent mask-wearing, and change community-wide mask-wearing norms. The teams are distributing 3 million masks in Gujarat and Rajasthan and implementing the complementary set of interventions to ensure that these are consistently worn. The group is hoping to scale this to distribute 100 million masks in the next 4-6 weeks. For more information, please watch this YouTube video about their research.
Sangath – Sangath is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation working in Goa, and other Indian states, for 24 years. They are committed to improving health across the life span by empowering existing community resources. They address the psychological and social needs of people through comprehensive interventions. The people within Sangath are committed to bring positive change in the society by amalgamating humanitarian approaches with science and innovative technological solutions.
Website developed to help those located in India use Twitter to locate local supplies
To aid relief efforts and encourage donations to the region, the Institute has gathered together a number of resources for fundraising from across the region. The following campaigns are opportunities for our supporters to donate funding to relief efforts across South Asia. Funds in these campaigns will go to helping fight COVID-19 and to those who have been immediately impacted by the crisis.
While MI does not directly endorse the following organizations, the Institute would like to offer these campaigns as opportunities for those who would like to help the region.
America India Foundation (AIF): AIF is working on a number of campaigns, including community-centered interventions and interventions at health facilities and with frontline health workers. These include providing ventilators and oxygen concentrators, helping to create portable hospitals, providing PPE and running an awareness campaign.
GiveIndia: Harvard students have teamed up with students from 20+ universities to aid in COVID relief efforts. For more information, please see the MI article that highlights these campaigns. Support will help channel vital oxygen, protective equipment and other medical resources to NGOs on the ground to protect healthcare workers and help save lives.
Indiaspora: This organization raised over $1 million for COVID relief from diaspora leaders in 48 hours and aims to double the impact of relief efforts by providing matching funds this week in a virtual event, “Help India Breathe.” Funding from the latest campaigns will go towards three major areas of COVID-19 relief on the ground: the creation of urgently needed COVID care centers and makeshift hospitals through nonprofit WISH Foundation, direct cash transfer to families who have lost a primary earning member through nonprofit giving platform GiveIndia, and food relief and livelihood assistance for migrant workers and other underserved populations through nonprofits Goonj and Jan Sahas.
Magic Bus: Magic Bus is a global leader in poverty alleviation, working to assist thousands of young adults annually during their transition into the workforce. The organization is continuing to work with underprivileged youth during the pandemic, particularly by working with families on awareness on COVID- 19 prevention, vaccination, and by creating linkages to government entitlements that ensure food security, and also distribute rations to the most marginalized. All funds raised will be wired to India promptly to ensure an immediate impact. Donations can be made via this site and do not carry transaction fees.
MyGov India: MyGov India, in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, is calling upon individuals and organizations to donate towards India’s struggle with COVID-19. Specifically, they’re calling for the donation of oxygen, ventilators and medications. To see a full list of needed items or to donate, please access their page.
Uday Foundation: The Uday Foundation, which works out of Delhi to provide access to medical care for those who are most vulnerable, is offering different ways to directly contribute to fundraising for the region.
Mittal Institute – Upcoming COVID-19 Events:
Mittal Institute – COVID-19-Related Events this Past Year:
Events from Beyond Harvard:
Univ Hawaii, Manoa (Dr. Anna Stirr in conversation with Dr. Suresh Tamang about how the Nepal Government and various NGOs have been working through successes and failures to combat COVID-19 in Nepal)